Due to the Potential Risk for Complications from Chemo, I Dig Into My Own Risk for COVID-19
Since March, I’ve taken a bit of pivot here on ABSOT and have written a lot about men’s health in relation to COVID, including the Cleveland Clinic’s survey, Dan Doty’s tips for mental health, and more. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t explicitly mention the COVID pandemic in relation to my life.
In my Conner eulogy post, I mentioned I got a COVID-19 test, which was actually the second one I had. I had one a few weeks earlier, just for my own curiosity to see how it felt. If you’re given a choice, rapid response is the way to go – less brain scraping.
Other than those tests, the only other personal things I’ve done for myself in regards to COVID was following recommended mitigation strategies, and reading Steve Pake’s Information about COVID-19 for Testicular Cancer Patients and Survivors.
Honestly, I didn’t think too much into my own risk of COVID until recently.
From Steve’s post, I gathered that as long as I was no longer immunocompromised from chemo (which I’m not), I wasn’t at any higher risk of coming down with it. My biggest risk would be complications if I did indeed contract the virus, due to potential lung toxicity from the bleomycin. Ah, chemo – the gift that just keeps on giving.
Since schools have been shut down since March and I have been severely limiting my exposure to other people, I never followed up with Dr. Maurer in specific regards to my risk. I honestly was expecting my school to stay virtual until 2021 at the earliest, so I thought I wouldn’t be around too many walking petri dishes (children) for a while. Plot twist – In September my school board decided to send us back to school in October, even though case numbers in the area continue to trend upward.
To be on the safe side, I decided to finally call Dr. Maurer’s office to see what their recommendations would be in regards to being around children. They ordered a pulmonary function test, which I hadn’t had since before beginning chemo. They wanted to see if I did indeed have any lung damage from the bleomycin.
However, it was hard to get an immediate appointment for the test.
This is by no fault of anyone other than myself. I should have requested this months ago, and asking for my lung function to be tested in the middle of a respiratory illness related virus pandemic wasn’t my smartest move. They were able to schedule me for two weeks after school resumed with students, and offered to write me a “work from home” note until we had results.
However, I didn’t really want to work from home, so we compromised to change it to a “work in your private office with limited contact with children and others” note. We could also amend it once we got the results back.
Fast forward to the day of the appointment
Basically, the test was exactly the same as it had been in 2016: a lot of filling my lungs with as much air as possible and expelling it out in a variety of forces and durations. I could make some crude jokes about sucking and blowing, but I will take the high road here.
About 24 hours later, I got the results back. Good news – I had no lung damage from the bleo. I really probably should have asked about this three to four years ago, but zesty Las Vegas . (Some people may pronounce this as c’est la vie, but that’s what I call it).
Even with the… positively negative results, my doctors and I decided to keep the doctor’s note the same. This was done more of a precaution to be on the safe side, especially as cases continue to rise and we move into this predicted second/third/whatever number we are on wave. While my lung function is fine now, I would like to keep it that way and avoid getting COVID-19.
That about wraps it up.
This was a rather short and anti-climatic post, but that’s a good thing in the grand scheme of things. As I finish up, I would like to close with a quote from President Lincoln, which underscores the importance of all of us following mitigation strategies during this pandemic.
“Whatever you are, be a good one.” (And please wear a mask.)
A self exam is how most cases of testicular cancer are detected early. Click the image for video directions or click here for a larger version
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